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Alderley Edge Parish CouncilFirst written evidence of Alderley Edge, then known as 'Chorlegh' appeared in the 13th century. It comprised estates that had many different owners during the middle ages but since the 15th century, most of them have belonged to the de Trafford family.

Until the mid 19th century it was a quiet, mainly agricultural area consisting of several cottages, a blacksmith's and the Dc Trafford Arms which still exists at the southern end of the village.

The coming of the railway changed all this. The Manchester and Birmingham Railway built a line out to Alderley, offering free season tickets for 20 years to Manchester businessmen who built houses with a rateable value of more than £50 within a mile of the station. This 'season ticket' was in the form of a small silver oval which could be worn on a watch chain.

Eager to move away from the smoke of the city, this led many families to build fine mansions and villas, particularly on the slopes of the Edge. Known as 'the Cottentots' because of their connections with the cotton trade, their homes still exist although many being too big to manage today, have been divided up.

The houses on the Edge, with their walks and trees, were designated as one of the first conservation areas in the North West.

It was because of the railway, too, that Alderley Edge got its name. The railway company did not want its station called Chorley because of the possible confusion with Chorley in Lancashire. So, looking at the sandstone escarpment already known as The Edge, they named it Alderley Edge - against much opposition! Because of the railway, Alderley became a popular place to visit and the railway company popularised day trips and cheap excursions to the village.

This period also saw the appearance of buildings which are now landmarks. St Philip's Church with its 175ft spire was built in 1853 and the village school a year later whilst Alderley Edge High School (now St Hilary’s) opened in 1876. The Mission Hall (later known as The Institute) was built as a temperance hall for the recreation of the 'lower classes' by the wealthier residents in 1878. The Methodist Church in Chapel Road was built ten years after St Philip's.

In the streets tucked away behind the village is the Festival Hall. Alderley Edge has played host to an annual musical festival since 1911 and by the 1920s it became so popular that local residents were encouraged to subscribe towards a hall in which to hold it. In 1928, the Festival Hall in Talbot Road was used for the first time. Each May it is the main venue for the Festival one of the most successful in the country.

Alderley has remained a popular and prosperous village with individual shops, cafes and restaurants and continues to be a sought after location for residents and visitors alike.

Other sources of information:
Wikipedia: Alderley Edge.
English Heritage: Sandhills Project.

an mh-p website